Lakota Immersion | Mount St. Joseph University
Landscape photo of mountains.

The Pine Ridge 12-day immersion trip allows you to learn about the Lakota Sioux Plains Indians.

Students will experience Lakota rites and rituals, a pow-wow ceremony, Wounded Knee, the Badlands and the Black Hills.

Host Site

This cultural immersion trip is located on the Red Cloud Indian School and Mission, in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the southwestern corner of South Dakota. Pine Ridge is the second largest Indian reservation in the US, spanning 5,000 square miles. It is located in Shannon County, the poorest county in the US, with a median annual family income of $4,000.


Students will be transported to the host site in Mount St. Joseph University vans. All drivers have completed van safety training with campus police. Red Cloud Mission is 1,300 miles from the University. Travel time to Pine Ridge is approximately 24 hours over a two-day period. In addition, students will travel approximately 1,400 miles on the Reservation traveling to and from historic sites and service work sites, for a total of 4,000 miles.


At Red Cloud School, students will live in double occupancy bedrooms in the home of volunteer teachers. In transit, lodging will be two overnights in the dormitory at Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Food preparation will be done by the students on a rotating basis.


Students will visit historic Lakota tribal sites and learn from Lakota educators and tribal leaders each evening in presentations on the social, cultural and religious dimensions of the people. Students will also engage in the following service activities with the Lakota:

  • tutoring of grade school children 
  • archival work with mission records
  • home repair
  • elderly visitation
  • computer installation and instruction

Health Care Facilities

First aid treatment is available on site. Medical care and emergency treatment are available in Rapid City, South Dakota, a two-hour drive from the Red Cloud Mission.


Weather conditions in summer will be hot and dry (90+ daily).

Contact Information

For more information, call John Trokan at (513) 244-4272 or email him.

Additional Information

The course number is IDS 393/ RPS 593. The Trip will take place over the University's summer break.